These days decent JRPGs are hard to come by. Apart from a few well established franchises like the “Tales of” series, “Legend of Heroes” and Persona (which to be fair is an exclusive so a lot of people don’t get to play it), there’s a dearth of Japanese Role Playing Games.
Steam is home to thousands of titles, but if you start looking you won’t find more than a handful of exceptional games from this enchanting genre. Legrand Legacy from Semisoft claims to be, “A love letter to all time favorite JRPGs with a fresh take on classic turn-based combat and tactics”.
Legrand Legacy: Tale of the Fatebounds
There is one thing you can be sure of- Legrand legacy IS unique in many ways. Whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing or perhaps both, read on to find out.
JRPGs usually shatter the boundaries of reality, with their creatively crafted world and quirky characters. Legrand Legacy retains all those JRPG troupes, and blends in a few ingredients of it’s own. The most prominent one is the Middle Eastern setting.
The currency (Danaar), the names, the outfits and as well as the presence of a big-a** desert smack-dab at the very center of the map gives the game world an Arabic vibe. The devs have pulled it off rather well too. The lore has been written from scratch and it holds up nicely.
Legrand Legacy adopts a fresh new combat system, which requires the player to press a particular key, as and when indicated by the game. The timing here is the key, and determines the damage and if perfect, it can interrupt the enemy attack. For the most part, the combat is quite enjoyable though the random encounters get annoying towards the end, but hey grinding is something you just have to put up with in these games.
However, the difficulty spikes are sort of random and uncalled for. Most encounters in the game, including the bosses aren’t much of a bother if you target their weaknesses and your timing is right. Unfortunately more than a few times, you will be facing a “side-quest boss” that will take ages to beat. Such encounters are quite frustrating and require a good deal of patience.
Semisoft seems to have simplified the combat to attract the mainstream audiences, who more than often are turned off by the grindy and unforgiving combat mechanics of JRPGs. The armors can’t be changed or upgraded, but new weapons can be crafted at a blacksmith’s. The magic/arts or grimoire as it’s called in Legrand Legacy is inexhaustible, and the AP gauge fills at an appreciable pace, allowing the use of Arcana or powerful signature moves.
Another aspect of the game that bugged me were the puzzles. Although there are just two or three of them, they are really exhausting. What really bothered me were the random encounters I had to face while I was trying to figure out the already taxing puzzles. It really got on my nerves.
The mini-map is also absent which makes it even harder to navigate in certain dungeons where these puzzles are located. While old-school JRPG fans will probably appreciate this feature, I highly doubt the combat will satisfy them, which seems to be tailored for the masses. That is the core problem with this game. While the combat is easy enough to draw the mainstream gamers, the dungeons and navigation are kind of a headache.
Legrand Legacy includes a few mini-games. Most of them are simple enough and just require fast reflexes and a bit of attention. However, one mini-game is compulsory to progress the plot. At multiple points in the story, the player has to fight wars or skirmishes, from a table-top view and achieve the objective(s) using allied units. It looks a lot like chess, but is far from complicated.
Coming to the plotline or the story. JRPGs like anime, are popular for their absorbing stories with twists and turns that are hard to digest. Legrand Legacy takes that to the next level, and has so many interesting characters, each with their own fascinating story to tell.
If you were to ask me what the best thing about this game is , I’d straight away tell you that it’s the story. However, there is one major drawback in this department. The character development is not upto the mark. Up until a certain point in the game, the writing seems perfect but then out of nowhere a few lines of dialogue break the immersion.
Soundtrack and Art
Semisoft bought Emi Evans on board to compose the soundtrack for Legrand Legacy. This is the same Emi Evans who composed the enthralling soundtrack of Nier Automata. So it just had to be phenomenal and it most certainly is.
Just like the OST, the art-style too is impressive. Legrand Legacy features beautiful, hand painted visuals which may not be for everyone but fans of the genre should be satisfied at the very least. The cut-scenes are pre-rendered and way more detailed, but to be fair you can’t expect that kind of detail in the main game.
It took me about 30 hours to complete the game and I was seriously disappointed by the ending. It’s really anti-climatic, kind of takes away the thunder and leaves the player with bitterness at the end. I absolutely didn’t see it coming and I’m still pissed at the developers for that.
Legrand Legacy by Semisoft is a refreshing addition to the JRPG catalogue. It is a little rough around the edges and has it’s shortcomings, but ultimately succeeds at what it sets out to achieve. It should be an entertaining experience for gamers fairly new to JRPGs, and even for veterans looking for something unique or new to try. The combat may to be lacking, but thanks to the strong plotline and the unique mechanics, the game manages to holds it’s own.
For more reviews and info check out OpenCritic.